How Will The Walking Dead Finally End?S

Greetings, folks! It’s your friendly neighborhood post-apocalyptic fake mailman here, and I have to tell you, my mailbag is full to bursting! It’s really heavy! It may actually get me killed, because I move really slowly while carrying it! But my imminent, easily avoidable death is worth it, as long as I get to keep answering your letters!


Dead End

Neil B.:

Dear Postman,

The wife and I thoroughly enjoy our weekly dose of stress-sweats brought on by The Walking Dead and have stuck to it through thick and thin. Now we learn that it has been renewed for a fifth season, no surprise there. However, it does plant the seed of speculation in our frenzied minds as to how this is all going to end.

Naturally, the comic book is still going strong, so there are no neat conclusions to aim for (unlike a show such as Spartacus which we knew wasn't going to end well for our heroes), however, I would be interested to know how you, irradiated beacon of hope, think the series will eventually bow out.

A cure is found and the survivors discover an untouched island paradise?

Everybody dies?

Carl and Beth are the only survivors and it turns out this all happened thousands of years ago - holy hell!

Actually, ignore that last idea. Cheers!

I can see a few ways for The Walking Dead comic and TV show to end, but someone finding a cure is not one of them. Mainly because no one has any resources to be able to discover a cure, but also because The Walking Dead’s zombies are of the massively decomposing variety, and any “cure” someone found would merely let them die. If a cure doesn’t actually cure people, then there’s no point in using that as opposed to something else.

What will that something else be? Well, I imagine when Kirkman wants to end the comic or the show, the survivors will simply win the war of attrition with the zombies. Maybe they’ll kill enough zombies to make the omnipresent threat natural; maybe enough time will pass that mother nature will help, and many zombies will decompose to the point of being unable to attack anything. I’m getting the sense that the survivors will find a new place to stay, the zombie attacks will get fewer and farther apart, and they’ll be able to continue building a city and rebuilding civilization. This will all be with a final montage, of course — it’s not like we’re going to get to watch things get slowly better for either the comics or the TV show cast.

For the record, I think Rick’s chances of surviving to see this semi-happy ending are about 1 in 8,262,047. He’ll sacrifice himself to save Carl and the group, and Carl will have to kill his zombie dad, at which point he’ll lead the group as a young man to the end I described above. This may happen earlier in the TV show in Andrew Lincoln decides to leave it before the end — which would be stupid, given that The Walking Dead is one of the most popular shows on TV and I don’t see much of a movie career in his future. But since AMC is going to keep this show going for as long as they can, it’s possible Lincoln could get bored by year 8 or so and want out.

At any rate, this will lead to a sequel series where Carl and Lizzy (the new crazy girl from season 4, who will bond with Carl over their pasts as young psychopaths) have a dozen babies, which the elderly Daryl trains to become an elite zombie-fighting team. These 12 young men and women roam the land, trying to eliminate all remaining zombies for the safety as all. They, as well as their show, will be known as “Carl’s Juniors.”


How Will The Walking Dead Finally End?S

The Redford Skull

Dr. Acula:

Hello Rob!

Greetings from good ol´ Germany (how did Europe do during the Apocalypse?)

As you maybe know, the Marvel Cinematic Universe-movies are immensely popular over here, even (or especially) Captain America. (Even though no one here has never, ever read a superhero-comic). Now after the new Trailer for The Winter Soldier came out we asked us: Is Robert Redford playing the Red Skull in disguise?

What do you say to this? Is it realistic? And would it be a good thing? I´m a bit torn apart by the idea. It makes sense, you don´t cast Redford without using him as the big surprise villain, and Crossbones appears as his loyal henchman. But is it a good idea? Personally I thought the Red Skull was one of the weakest and most cliched villains in the MCU. And the Trailer for the winter soldier looked like a really great 70s-political thriller with action in it. Having the head of the biggest intelligence service being a bubble-gum-red guy with a robert-redford-face-mask sounds almost as dumb as Lasers in WWII. And literal nazis as villains would seriously undermine the message about the risk of unintentionally becoming an orwellian surveillance state ("we neutralize a lot of threats before they even happen"/"this is not freedom, this is fear"), but it would probably fit with the tone of the rest of the films.

What are your thoughts on this?

The chances of Robert Redford having something to do with the Red Skull are 2-in-3. Because Crossbones is a pretty minor villain and the Winter Soldier has to have a master, and cast-wise there really aren’t many other options. Also, I can easily see the director wanting the charismatic, attractive, and good-natured actor — seriously, Robert Redford was practically a real-life Steve Rogers back in his heyday — to go against type as a bad guy, and I can see Redford being interested in the role for that same reason.

So the question is whether he’s the Red Skull or not. I don’t think that he’s going to rip off his face and reveal the Red Skull’s crimson visage; infiltrating SHIELD is well within the Red Skull’s capabilities, but I can’t see him having a lengthy career of service for some sort of long con. I think Redford will be working with the Red Skull in some capacity instead.

And I think it’s more likely than not that capacity is “possessed by.” In the Ed Brubaker comics that form the basis of The Winter Soldier storyline, the consciousness of the Red Skull inhabits the body of a Russian general named Aleksander Lukin, and eventually takes over. Seeing as the Red Skull was zapped to god know where at the end of the first movie by the Tessaract/Cosmic Cube, he could come back in any shape, way, time, manner, etc. I’m guessing Marvel sticks with the same idea, more or less.

P.S. — Dude, I still don’t know what happened to America in the apocalypse, so I have zero idea how Europe is faring. They may be fine. Honestly, if America just went dead silent in 2014, would Europe really be that worried? Or would it exhale a massive, continent-wide sigh of relief? I'm guessing the latter.


How Will The Walking Dead Finally End?S

No Justice

Tanner R.:

Dear Mr. Postman,

So I recently saw your article regarding how beware the batman might or might not be getting cancelled, naturally being the big Young Justice fan boy that I am (LOVE LOVE the show) I hoped that maybe this might mean it could come back. I know its probably a long shot and the chances of it happening are slim at best but do you think it could ever possibly come back? Or if failing that could it get a movie or comic book spin off? I know they did a couple of comics set between the two years and season ones missions but I was hopping they could continue the series with it, I can't imagine they did very good but from what I've heard or at least saw Young Justice has a pretty big fan community so we could see a potential firefly situation here?

In other words I really would love Young Justice to come back in some form or another.

I’m sure you would. I would too. But it ain’t gonna happen. First of all, Cartoon Network either can’t or won’t air the most recent Batman cartoon, Beware the Batman, so the chances of them giving Young Justice another shot is nil. As for DC, their animation division seems to be focused on replicating the New 52-niverse in animated form, which also means bye-bye to Young Justice and the second (and still pretty darn good) DC animated universe it inhabited.

Admittedly, there is a possibility that DC could continue the story in a comic, as they’ve recently done with Batman Beyond. But, alas, Young Justice doesn’t have the same cultural cache as Batman Beyond did, if only because Cartoon Network kept changing its airdate, randomly postponing episodes for months at a time, and basically trying to destroy any potential audience it might get at any given time.

Here’s a question for you all — does Cartoon Network hate DC? And if so, why?


How Will The Walking Dead Finally End?S

Dark Water

John K.H.:

Dear postman,

Not long ago, I was re-watching the movie Dark City, and a question came to mind. Dr. Schreber is talking with John Murdoch, a stone's throw away from an olympic size swimming pool. Among other things, Schreber reveals that the Strangers have two weaknesses, sunlight and water. The Strangers have absolute control of the dark city, and keep it plunged in perpetual night, thus eliminating the sun as a concern. Yet... there's water.

Now for the purpose of the film, the water weakness is revealed to explain to the audience that Schreber, and Murdoch, have a sanctuary, in which they can speak freely without consequences. I get that. I also get that, while the Strangers have no use for water, human beings do. Therefore, taps are going to have to flow, to keep their experimental subjects from dying from dehydration.

The question, then, is... why are there canals? Why would the Strangers build a structure that housed a swimming pool? I could see the canals being the reservoir that the city draws it's water from, except that the Strangers have complete control of the entire city's layout. They could easily have the water stored in big tanks beneath the city, thus protecting themselves from a necessary evil, while still providing drinking water to the masses. Hoping you can shed some light on this one.

Well, just because they absconded with a bunch of humans and then made a giant enclosed city floating in space for them all to run around in doesn’t mean they’re the sharpest mysterious bald men who turn out to be aliens in the tool shed (so to speak). I imagine the canals were there to give humans the feeling that they were grounded, because who would imagine they were trapped in a giant space vessel when there are actual canals everywhere? The pool is a bit harder to explain, except by hubris — the Strangers couldn’t imagine being in danger or not being in control, so they gave the humans whatever they thought they wanted. For them, it’s the equivalent of placing loaded guns all over the city and assuming you’d never get shot.

Also, remember, the story starts when Rufus Sewell manages to wake up during the night, when everyone is supposed to comatose, so the Strangers can rearrange the people and the city and keep experimenting. They didn’t foresee an anomaly that led to their defeat, which is usually how that stuff works. To extend the metaphor well past its breaking point, in a land where loaded guns and scattered randomly about, Rufus Sewell is the one person who suddenly remembered how guns work.

(Also, as you said, narrative purposes played a large role. The Strangers needed a weakness to something to keep the story moving, and water was as good as anything, I suppose.)


How Will The Walking Dead Finally End?S

Eating Well

B Lindsay:

Dear Mr. Postman,

I’ve heard it said (perhaps on io9) that there are two sorts of zombies… the magical, necromantic kind (Army of Darkness) and the kind that comes from a virus (Resident Evil, Zombieland, WWZ, etc). These viral zombies are always explained thusly: an infection (plus death) inhibits the higher centers of the brain, resulting in a shambling (or sprinting) body, which retains only its basest instincts. Namely hunger. And therefore you get hordes of ravenous cadavers whose sole purpose is to munch on somebody. Frequently these zombies are stuck in close quarters together until some fool opens the door.

So my question is this: Why don’t zombies eat other zombies? It’s not like they’re picky, feasting on brains and intestines like they do. We occasionally see zombies eating already dead bodies, so freshness shouldn’t be an issue. If you’re brain dead and just want to stuff something in your mouth, well, fresh intestines/ripe intestines… it should be all the same. Plus, even the freshest zombies gets a “do-not-eat-me pass” from the undead community.

It seems that the solution to any zombie apocalypse should be to lock the doors and let them all devour one another. Why doesn’t that work?

Also, if zombies just need to stuff their face, how come they’re only interested in human flesh? Why don’t zombies eat their veggies?

The same reason anyone doesn’t eat their veggies — veggies are gross.

I’m kidding, I’m kidding (except about broccoli). Think of zombies are carnivores, not scavengers like vultures. They like their meat fresh, just like non-zombified humans do. When they kill someone, yes, he’s dead, but his meat is still fresh for a certain amount of time, and that’s good eatin’. Eventually, the body begins to rot — pretty quickly, given the fact that the host is now infected with the zombie virus as well — at which point the food effectively goes bad.

And that’s all zombies are to each other — walking, shambling pile of bad meat. Now, if zombies had refrigeration technology, where they could store their victims immediately after killing them, well, then that’s a whole new ball game. They could be snacking on a single dude for an entire week!


Do you have questions about anything scifi, fantasy, superhero, or nerd-related? Email the postman@io9.com! No question too difficult, no question too dumb! Obviously!